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Breathing again

March 9th, 2007 at 05:10 pm

Hello all,

I paid all the bills for the month except my internet. (still waiting for the refund for paying into the wrong account)

I'm trying to use a new budgeting system where I save all my checks then just pay all the bills one time a month. Things look different in my check book now. It seemed like before that I was setting aside money for bills, now it seems like I'm setting money aside for me. Kind of like reverse psychology saving up those payroll checks in my check register. This month I'm going to deposit them into my money market account. It won't be money market earnings because I won't be able to keep $2000 per month in there, but it will still be earning some interest while they sit and wait for bill time.

My oldest daughter spent some time in the hospital this week. She had pneumonia and bronchitis. A very scarey combination. She is better and was released Wednesday night.

Only 45 more months to go until I am stupid debt free (12/2010)!

My little girl is having her birtday party tomorrow. I'm trying to keep it as budget friendly as possible. My family comes over and we will have sandwiches, cake and ice cream. She also invited 7 friends. I know, she had some who couldn't come, then they could come and now she has 7. I just didn't have the heart to tell the kids they couldn't come.

I hope you all have a happy healthy weekend.

Shopping at the Grocery Outlet

March 4th, 2007 at 10:42 pm

Hello Fellow Bloggers,

I am still trying to come up with ways to save money.

I'm going to cut grocery shopping again. I've been trying an outlet store and WINCO's . Seems to be helping, so I think I might be able to cut back on that expense by $20 for the month.

At the outlet I can get two 5lb bags of cat food for $2.84 per bag. It is the good cat food. The dogs have also been benefiting because I can get the really good dog food for about $10 for the 10lb bag. This is about a $15 savings per month. I just wish I could find the really good multiple cat litter for less than the $8.00 I pay for it twice a month.

I bought 3 boxes of dish washer detergent for $2.50 a box. Normally $4.99. Coffee bags for $2.50. Also normally $4.99. Juice and apple sauce is very inexpensive. TV dinners are anywhere from $1 to $2. Rice mixes for .50 per box.

Of course they don't always have what you're looking for, so I go there first and then to the other store afterwards. This week I got there just after they stocked up. So I was lucky to find so much that I needed.

I'm reading a book "Get Everything You Want With the Money You Already Have." It is an amazing book that recommends that you pay all your bills at the same time every month. Then you live on what's left over. I'm going to try it this month. This is why I had a little money for groceries. My mortgage isn't late until the 17th. So I will pay all the bills when I get paid again. I think it will work better for me, than trying to save half of all the bills each time I get paid, so that I have the money to pay them when I get them.

Things I could spend my stupid debt payments on:

March 4th, 2007 at 11:18 am

If I paid $315 extra each month on my mortgage, my mortgage would me paid off 15 years earlier.

If I put $315 each month into savings I would have $12600 saved after 40 months - not including interest.

I would be able to afford both my kids going into braces at the same time.

I would be able to save for a cruise - something I've always wanted to do.

Free fast food dinner!

February 28th, 2007 at 09:42 pm

Hello all,

We had a meeting at work today. After the meeting, when I was passing out the extra food back to the employees that brought it, one of them said, "Oh just throw it away". I said, "There are six burritos left." She then told me if I wanted them, that I could have them. So dinner tonight was on the her. It is always very difficult for me to believe that people do things like this. If it was me, at the very least, I would have frozen the burritos to eat later.

I just can't believe that people are so wasteful.

I remember saving for my first house. I saved bread ties, plastic baggies for reuse (only if they didn't have meat in them). I remember that if I spent more than $5 on dinner I thought I was wasting money. I remember budgeting beans at least twice a week. Some of it was to save money, some of it was because I didn't have a choice. I managed to save enough money that when I got divorced I managed to buy a house with a conventional loan.

Looking back, I think I can manage somehow, to have another $125 in my budget for my daughter's braces. I don't think I'd give up internet or cable TV, but somewhere there is something that I can cut back.

Lately, I've been taking salad and tuna for lunch or I take a TV dinner. I think I could be just as happy making my salad instead of buying it in a bag. I don't need to buy the TV dinners.

Also, I've been checking appliances at night to make sure they are turned off. I never did before. Maybe that is why my electric bill is so out of control.

Heres the quote for the day.

"Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship."
~Benjamin Franklin

Fighting your way out of the mud

February 24th, 2007 at 04:58 pm

Hello fellow blogsters,

Interesting story here

It rained out here the other day and every time it rains we have a good 10-15 toads out on my grass and because we're kind of close to a stream, sometimes we get a frog or two. Anyway. It was kind of dusky and suddenly the frogs and toads started talking outside my bedroom window. Now I always wondered where the toads come from. It gets quite hot here some times. Well anyway, I went out and looked and guess what? They are coming up from the ground! Fighting their way out of the mud. Here I was blaming mice and yelling at my cats and it was the toads. How funny! They must stay underground when it's hot.

I kind of watched for a while and I thought, "I wonder how I'd feel if I had to fight my way out of the mud?" I actually could totally relate it to my life. Topside being the good times and underground being the tough times. You better believe that I fought my way out each time. I bet we all have a story to tell about those hard times.

Back to reality:

My oldest daughter is sick with a kidney infection. She has kidney reflux. So she is not working again, until at least next week Friday.

My boys are gone for the weekend, so just the girls are home. I probably won't cook all weekend except to make a sandwich or salad.

I bought gas today and lent the oldest one money for medicine. She was at the hospital. I guess they'll send a bill for her co-pay.

My neck and back gets better then it gets bad again. I've started taking the motrin again.

Life is still pretty tight for money. I still have faith that I will raise the money for the braces for my daughter.

Well I'll leave you with another of my favorite biblical sayings.

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11-1

Once upon a time...

February 21st, 2007 at 09:02 pm

their lived a happy family. A mom, a dad and their four very happy children. One day the dad decided that what was important to him had very little to do with what was important to a family. Mom and dad went their separate ways. Mom got everything in the divorce. The four kids, the dogs and all the bills.

Today I chose to be angry.

My ex-husband does not call. He does not pay child support. When we divorced, he might as well have just died.

Today I chose not to feel sorry for myself and instead count my blessings.

1) My children are happy and alive.
2) My parents are alive.
3) My siblings are alive
4) I am buying the house I live in.
5) I have paid all the bills for this month.
6) I live in an area with a good school district.
7) I have reasonably inexpensive health insurance for my kids.
8) I have a job
9) We will not go hungry.
10)My car gets me back and forth to work and anyplace else I want to go.
11)My little girl likes her smile.
12)My kids like each other and choose to be with each other.
13)My family all live within driving distance.
14)I work eight miles from where I live.
15)I found this forum.
16)This can go on and on....Smile

Today I chose to be happy.

""What we do in life echoes in eternity-Maximus"

Trying to earn extra money.

February 20th, 2007 at 08:05 pm

Hello everyone,

I am doing one .75 survey each day. In a regular 30 day month that is 22.50. I'm trying to earn that much per weekend. You can only do one .75 per day. Sometimes that's all you get to do. I get denied for more surveys then I get approved for.

I signed up for the Bronze member program in Shadow shopper. It looks pretty interesting. I wish I knew someone else that tried them to see what they can tell me. I really don't want to spend the sign up money if I don't have to.

My son asked me to make macaroni with cheese and hamburger for dinner today. I found out that I didn't have any hamburger. I didn't realize that I was completely out. I did get a few more groceries (after the shopping spree) but the hamburger was all over $2 per pound. I just can't afford to pay that. I'll have to keep an eye out for the sales. I have only about $60 left in the food budget until March 14. My next check on 2/28 goes to the mortgage and car insurance.

We had left over soup from yesterday instead. If I still have soup left after today, I'll freeze it for another time.

I think tomorrow we'll have grilled cheese with turkey slices for dinner.


It's gone down to the 40's at night for the last couple of nights and my heater has kicked on. I'm worried about the propane. I haven't checked the tank in a while.

I have until April 26th when DD has her ortho appointment to come up with at least $250 to start her braces, than make the payment of $130 a month.

My oldest daughter just told me she is thinking about joining the army again. She has wanted to do this since she graduated from high school. She will be 23 this year.

Even though I worry, somehow I know in my heart that everything will be okay.

I leave you with one of my favorite bible quotes.

"And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest is love."
I Corninthians 13:13

I made $7.50 on the internet

February 19th, 2007 at 01:50 pm

Hello Everyone,

I made $7.50 on the internet. It really can be done! I'm so happy. I have $11.00 in pending approval transfers to me and I am going to do at least one more thing which will bring me up to close to $35.00. This is just over the weekend. $35 per weekend is all I need to get my daughter in braces and make the payment. Plus I signed up for about 15 survey places. I hope some of them pick me for paid surveys. I am also looking at Shadow Shopper. I haven't started that because I don't have any money to pay the enrollment fee. Has anyone tried that? A girl at works husband did it for almost two years and loved the freedom of it.

I'm making beef vegetable soup for dinner. I make it in the crock pot. Yum!

I went to the chiroprator this morning. He adjusted my neck. I can turn it now and don't feel like it is such an effort to hold my head up. It has an ice pad on it. The doctor said I won't have to go back unless it starts to hurt again. This is the first time I've been to the chiroprator since 4/06. Not too bad.

I feel so much better today. Not so worried.

I hope you all have a lovely president's day. It is raining off and on out in So CA.

I'll part with one of the most misquoted quotes I've ever heard.

"The love of money is the root of all evil." not "Money is the root of all evil."

Pain in my neck

February 17th, 2007 at 09:31 pm

Dear Fellow Blogsters,

Well other than the real pain in my neck. I just got a cut off notice for my internet service.

I called and told them I'd been paying them. Well what apparently happened is that when I changed phone services to another company, I deleted the internet account and not the phone account. So I've been paying the wrong bill for two months.

Now can they credit my account? No. They will credit it back to my checking account in ... get this....4 to six weeks. I had to pay at least half to keep my internet service connected.

I understand that it was all my doing and I told them that...BUT....now that the problem has been found WHY can't they credit the internet account that is about to be disconnected and WHY did they continue to accept my payment each month when I didn't have an account with them?

It seems totally ridiculous to me. It just makes me wonder if I ever overpaid anyone else and they kept the overpayment?

I'm going to be much more careful from now on. Do you know that they wouldn't even credit my account the $1.99 for two months late charges? I suppose you can guess why I don't have them for my phone or cable television anymore.

Well other than this small mishap, it was a beautiful 75 degree day out here in So Ca. I woke up and thought my neck was actually better. It is just now barely starting to hurt, so I took a motrin. The chiroprator appointment is Monday.

Both my sons are gone for the weekend. One went to the motocross in San Diego with my oldest daughter and the other is with my sister. It is a much needed break all the way around. I just have my little girl home with me.

Well I'm going back to the couch. It is somehow more comfortable for me there.

I hope all of you have a wonderful, peaceful weekend.

I'll leave you with something I overheard a customer of mine say one day.

"I can do anything I set my mind to. I know this because I have done it before."

Never shop with a hungry boy while on pain killers

February 16th, 2007 at 08:28 pm

I worked seven hours overtime today. When I got home my younger son (16) wanted to go grocery shopping "just for a couple of things" he said. Normally the kids don't go, they just unload the car. I must have been really tired and the 800 milligrams of motrin I took for my neck pain must of made me numb because I said, "okay" when he asked to go. Now I am sitting here thinking about what I just did.

I spent $200 on groceries. Mostly on frozen convenience foods. Almost nothing that me or my youngest daughter eats. My boys are in food heaven. I didn't even buy catfood.

My budget is $150 for two weeks. I overspent by $50 and on food that I consider unhealthy. I told my son it better last him the next six months because it is going to be a long long time before he sees pizza rolls and honey buns in this house again.

He than said that I should have just told him "no".

No kidding.

On the brighter side, my oldest daughter is giving me $400 on Sunday when she gets paid. I made her car payment so it would be timely. She borrowed $100 and I'll have $60 left over. I'll be able to buy catfood!

Eww! I just noticed the kid raided my change jar. My two quarters are gone. It was the kid I went shopping with.

Our conversation:

"What did you do with the money?" I asked and he said "I bought candy." He just had candy yesterday. I said (still numb from the motrin) "How much candy can you eat?" He replied "A lot!"

Then I told him not to do it again. I became very free with that change jar. Now that I'm trying to save money they had better stay out of it.

Its been a while since I've had a motrin, so I'm going to take another and lay down on the couch.

I hope you all had a wonderful money day.

Another day older

February 15th, 2007 at 08:00 pm

"Today I am one more day closer to paying off my debt".

That sure puts everything in perspective for me. I feel better already.

Today I took my daughter for another free opinion on her braces. The estimate was higher, the message was still the same.

My daughter's teeth are dropping to fill the gaps left by adult teeth that never grew in on the bottom. She is 14. Her mouth is a train wreck. It was funny that when we asked her if she was happy with her smile, she said that she was. I guess I did raise some well adjusted kids.

I made an appointment to go back to the first orthodontist in two months. In that time, I have to save $500 for the down and figure out how I'm going to squeeze in an extra $121 per month into my already very limited budget. I don't even have anything left to sell anymore.

I bought a candy bar at work today and went out for lunch at a restaurant. It was, I think, the first time in 6 or 8 months. It was nice. I won't be doing it again for another 6 or 8 months. On the brighter side, the change went into my change jar.

I think I'm going to name my change jar "Cruise". I heard it helps to save change if you actually have a goal.

I'm working overtime tomorrow and next Saturday (whooppee!). It's easier to leave the kids at home during the day then at night. I know they are in their teens. It just seems that they need me so much more now.

I hope all of you also had a wonderful day.


February 14th, 2007 at 09:27 pm

Some things have changed.

I have $900 and change in a money market account. This is 1/2 my mortgage. I take it back to pay the mortgage once per month. Than for about 15 days my mm account has zero in it. I have earned .45 in interest though.

All my bills have been paid for this month.

I am trying to put away $25 each time I get paid to go on a cruise. I had to borrow it back this month. The entire $100. At least my bills are all paid.

I tell myself that I am not playing catch up. I can't go back and repay myself. I don't have the funds. I have to start fresh each day.

I now have a change jar that is hidden. I never minded in the past that the kids would help themselves to the change; but lately I have begun to mind. They get an allowance and I don't.

Life is still very hard. I feel like I will never have any money again. On the bright side. I can have up to 8 hours a week overtime. OT is hard to manage when you have kids. I wish we had more Saturdays available to work. Those are pretty rare. I am going to try to manage 5 a week for now.

My two youngest need braces and I have to do everything I can to save money. I got one estimate and for both it was close to 8,000. My son had braces when he was little and he needs to have his second phase. I told him his sister's teeth are really bad and if I have to choose, she will be the one to get the braces first. I'm taking only her for another consultation tomorrow. Hopefully it will be much more reasonable.

I am paying $316 per month now in stupid debt. I am still kicking myself. They will be paid off in 40 months. That, my dear friends, means the year 2011. I will be 44.

Happy Valentine's Day to all.

Ughhh! Starting over again....

July 1st, 2006 at 01:57 pm

I'm starting over again.

I'm going to buy a little book and write down all of my spending. Gas is a big thing out in southern CA. Last year I spent $25 a week on gas. Now I easily spend $37.

Checking account has $900. I have just pennies in savings.

I have to start saving money again. This is totally ridiculous.

I've totally screwed up

June 28th, 2006 at 09:44 pm

I don't know why people charge up debt, let alone me. I got a 5 year simple interest loan to pay off that damn credit card. Well almost pay it off, I'll still owe about $2600, but will work dilently to pay it off first and than my son's motorcycle.

Younger son is selling off one of his bikes and he said he will give me $500. I'll put that either toward that stupid credit card or the dirt bike I financed. Hopefully he'll sell it. I told him to keep enough to buy his own school clothes and shoes.

All bills were paid again this month. Electric is a little higher than usual (due next month), budget only allows for $200, I 'll see what I can swing.

Bills I didn't plan this month were $30 for my son's summer school bus pass. Doctor's presciption for oldest daughter $30 - 3 at $10 each. Also daughter wrecked car, $1000 deductible and 2 weeks off work. So guess who paid the bills again? Luckilly, I bought another car and the car insurance went down a great deal because it only has liability and I moved my daughter to that one as the main driver. Plus with the credit I'm thinking that I'm acutally paid up for a while. Youngest daughter looks like she'll get all B's this semester so she'll get $100. If she gets C's or better she'll only get $50. It will actually come out of next months budget.

Taxes and DMV is late. About $1,075. I'll try to pay that next month as I get 3 checks in August.

I am so totally broke, it is really sad. I'll eventually catch up though. Somehow I always manage to come out ahead.

I wish my ex would pay some child support. School bus passes are coming up. 2nd son is in a charter so I don't have to pay his and oldest son is supposed to graduate early so I'll buy one semester at a time, but it is still about $225 for both bus passes.

I've lost my mind

December 31st, 2005 at 07:48 pm

Well not only did I spend all my savings, I also charged up the stupid new credit card I just got. Plus I bought my son the dirt bike he wanted. I am a complete idiot.

My daughter is paying her car payment and insurance but always late, which is still cutting into my plans. I talked to a few lenders, and they seem to believe that if I got a HELOC, I could pay off the credit card, car and the dirt bike. The payment would only be about $200 per month. Which would also mean that I would be able to take the daughter off of my auto insurance and let her get her own. I talked to the daughter and I told her I would have her sign a promissary note and that she would pay me back a minimum of $100 per month until the car was paid for. Even if she didn't pay, I'd still be better off than I am now. I am constantly worried that I'm going to have to pay the entire car payment and insurance which is about $500 per month. I've had to pay it in the past.

My younger kids were approved for Kaiser starting tomorrow. My daughter got her own insurance which is Aetna. It is a lot better than what I have for myself. She pays $34 per month.

I had a wonderful Christmas. On the Thursday before Christmas I found out that I didn't have cancer. WHOOPEE! I'm still having issues, so I'm going to have another procedure done to try to correct it, so we'll see how it goes.

I interviewed for a new job. I totally blew the oral part, I do feel that I did the rest alright. It was a long drive home. The job would be worth it if I didn't have to work overtime anymore. I'm worried about the travel that is involved. Spoke to the kids and they said they would be okay.

My idiot ex called my son and said he was planning on coming out for Christmas, but because no one called him back, he changed his plans. Now mind, he said this to his 14 year old son. The jerk. First of all, he didn't even call me. When my son told me (very accusingly because "I" didn't call him back), I was infuriated. I looked my precious boy right in the face and said, "If your dad wants to come here and visit you he doesn't need my permission." I never even went into the "what message" and "liar - liar" games. I thought I did very well.
He told my son he is working up in Oregon. I wish he would help out a little. Not much, maybe just pay for the kids' bus passes or something. Those are $150 each. I have to buy 3.

My boys are growing so fast. My oldest is 16 and now is 6'1". I think this year he needed new pants and new shoes almost every month. If my 15 year keeps up with his brother I'm really going to be in a real mess next year.

I know, whine whine whine. I did finance that dirt bike for my son. I probably can't afford that either. I'm a bad mom I suppose. Its not like I don't know what's important. I just have a hard time telling the kids that they can't have everything they want. I wouldn't even have a problem if their dad just paid his $325 in child support. He never pays. This is incredibly frustrating. Sometimes I think I'm the only person who ever has any problems at all.

Happy New Year.

Almost black friday

November 22nd, 2005 at 09:19 pm

Well Thanksgivings at my house this year and tomorrow is the annual office Thanksgiving potluck. I'm taking pumkin pie cake. Weird sounding I know but absolutely delicious.

Last bill due this month is the car insurance. $301. It is a killer. My daughter told me she is giving me $500 next month. The extra for all the times she didn't pay the car payment. Well we'll see. She said she still plans on moving back in.

I'm going to have an endometrial biopsy done. I've never had one of those before. I'm thinking that unless its in the afternoon I'll miss a whole day of work. Oh well. My blood iron or platlets (whichever I can't remember) is still pretty low. As of last Thursday it was a 9. I saw the score on the data sheet. It came up with this larger print L and a 9 next to it. He said if I drop one more point I'll have to have a transfusion. I really hate being sick.

I'm done shopping for my little girl. Looks like she got everything she wanted. My youngest son just wants a dirt bike and my oldest boy "is perfectly happy and can't think of a single thing he wants". I told him to watch it or he might just get all clothes. I'm asking for a pair of new oven mitts. My got burned on the stove.

I can hardly wait until Friday. I have yet to do any actual Christmas shopping on black friday for the kids. I usually get the family gift on that date. This year we are getting a new tree so that will be a family gift. I'm going to go and look for comforters. Most of my blankets and Christmas stuff that were in my garage at the old house were runied from the house fire smoke. Oh well.

Starting in December I will be getting about $300 more a month because I've taken the kids off of my insurance. I just couldn't afford it anymore. I haven't heard anything from Kaiser yet. I was looking at some of the other insurance programs they have there so I might actually still be able to afford something.

Come December I'm going to put another $100 a month into my ING savings account. Than every month I'm going to buy a $100 cd.

I'm wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving.

My couch did not just break!

November 3rd, 2005 at 05:09 pm

Stayed home today. No call from the doctor so I guess my blood work at least came back as a pass. I just hate being tired all the time.

I've been just lazying around. I sat up on my couch and I sank into it. The corners of the cushions popped up around me and I felt like I was sitting in the middle of a half opened flower Smile. I'd have laughed if I had the energy.

I'm splurging for pizza tonight. First fast food in months.

The insurance adjuster called. He's sending someone out to look at my car. While I was at work the roofers splattered tar all over the hood and fenders and it ate through the paint. I thought the company would take care of it, well they refused. Even though my insurance deductible is greater than the cost to have it repainted, my insurance will seek the cost and reimburse me if they collect. It really aggravates me.

I looked at my bills for this month and so far I have:
103.58 Edison
54.99 Trash (3 months)
13.40 Water
44.37 Phone
89.41 TV and Internet

I will get the following estimated:

300 Car insurace
65 Cell phone
20 Prepaid Cell phone

stupid things I do

November 2nd, 2005 at 06:10 pm

Let me begin by saying that I have very little credit card debt ($800 on a one card). I've always paid off all my vehicles very quickly. After my divorce I worked diligently to pay of $14,000 in debt and I swore in 11/2001 that I would never get in that same situation again. I currently financed a car for my daughter and she is paying what she can every month. I kick in the rest.

Well, a few years ago I got a discount on tires by applying for their credit card. I was approved and I immediately called and canceled the card. About a year ago, I applied for an Amazon card to get a discount and I was denied (for having no credit none-the-less) but I got the discount and was happy. Now mind you, I am not in the habit of just applying for credit cards. It just isn't something that I do.

Anyhow last night I was looking at my union's web site because we are in the middle of negotiations. Well on the side, it said apply now for a union credit card. Since I was bored, tired, sick and dumb, I went ahead and did this. I filled out all of the little questions and I knew they were going to deny me. I mean I have no credit (Mind you last I looked my credit score was an average of 725). So "processing" it went. Then BOOM!. I get the message "You have just been approved for $6000". No application fee, no yearly fee. I thought I was dreaming.

I wasn't dreaming. I just checked my emails and sure enough. I got a confirmation letter telling me how to confirm my card and that I should receive it in 10 days. Frown. I've surely lost my mind.

Today has been going just as well. I didn't get anything done at work because I can't think. Doctor is ordering the blood test results ASAP because I might have to be transfused and to top it off, my lovely daughter called and said her and her boyfriend haven't been getting along and she wants to move back home (but its not a sure thing yet).

Well you'd never guess that I don't stay bored for very long.


October 28th, 2005 at 04:26 pm

Well I went to my doctor yesterday because I was feeling really blah. Have been for a few weeks. I had the worst cold and my throat actually still feels yucky. I'm normally so healthy. He said sometimes infections can cause iron deficiency anemia. He also did a few other tests. I've had issues for years with precancerous cells and he told me that it could be possible that I have cervical cancer. WOW. Way to go Doc! Now I've had two really bad scares in the last 4 years where I've had to have a biopsy. He said I'm extremely anemic and had me take a blood test. (EWW I just hate the needle part!). He sent me away with prescriptions for Ferrous Sulphate and Hormones. I've taken 3 iron pills in the last 36 hours and I'm actually starting to feel a little better. I hear now that they have a shot for cervical cancer. I'm going to get one if I can after this.

I think mostly I'm just mad about the whole cancer thing. Having precancerous cells, I know its not as bad as actually having cancer, it is just a pain. I have to go through all these tests. Hormone pills and shots, sonograms, mamograms and biopsies and not to mention the missed work. After my last scare I asked to have a radical hysterectomy and I was refused. I wonder if I can get it now?

Than, to top it all off, my change jar was on the floor of my closet and all of my quarters were missing. So I asked my little girl about it. Apparently she borrowed it from me, because her brother gave her money for something and she lost it. However, she has since found the money and never returned all of my quarters. So she has be fined 2 weeks allowance. She will also have physical punishment, but I haven't thought up one good enough yet. I normally don't put the kids on restriction because I work so much. I could use some suggestions here.

Anyway, I'm pretty tired. I'm glad for the weekend.

Holidays are almost here.

October 25th, 2005 at 05:10 am

This year is going to be really tough. My son was told that he can't wear his jacket that has an iron cross on it to school anymore. They feel it is racial oriented. From what my son says they told him the iron cross was the first Natzi sign (I never knew that!). Today I have to take him to the mall for a new jacket. Every penny is a major owie towards Christmas.

This year we are going to get a live Christmas tree. We always had a fake one before. This way we can plant it in the yard. I hate the thought of killing a tree just to decorate it.

My boss called me in and thanked me for working overtime on my day off...I think I knew where this was going...so I butted in and I told her...that I could work overtime while the kids were in school like my Friday's off. Thats it and only for 6 hours. (One of the other supervisors is going out for surgery and I think she was going to ask me to cover.) I'll work an occassional extra couple of hours but that job is trying to kill me. She'd have me work 12 hour days if she could. I worked 6 days a week, 12 hours per day in January. It is hard on me to work like that but it it harder on the kids. I know they are teenagers; however, I'm the only parent they have and they want me at home when they are home. Believe me, I could use the money. The way I see it the kids only want you around for a while. There will be other overtime days.

Thanksgiving is at my house this year. I'll have to make a list as we have it potluck style. I get to make the turkey.

I love my parents. Saturday we had a birthday party for my DS. My parents walked around the house and critiqued my house cleaning skills and lectured my DD on her inability to clean her room. They got to the kitchen and my mom looked at me and said, "Who cleaned your kitchen?" I said, "The maid." and she said "Barbara, you really can't afford a maid." She is almost 80. My sister chastized me so I had to apologize and say I cleaned the kitchen.

Wish I could employ a maid. I hate mopping, cleaning bathrooms and mirrors. I also loathe cleaning out the refridgerator.

Black Friday is approaching and it looks like the kids will be getting lots of clothes this year. I'll try to get them something on their lists. I'm going to ask for new oven mitts.

bits and bobs from my history

October 23rd, 2005 at 09:47 am

I guess you could say that I've had it pretty tough the the last 12 years or so. I got divorced 6 years ago from a raging maniac. He doesn't have anything to do with his kids.

One of the reasons I moved to this new house was because now my ex husband doesn't know where we live. Not that it matters because he borrowed money from me the beginning of March and moved out of State. No one knows where he is. He hasn't tried to contact anyone since he left.

Then in March, it was the last Monday in March, my house caught fire and me and my daughter lost almost everything. All our clothes were lost. She lost all her furniture. We lost all our Christmas decorations. My youngest son got smoke inhalation and had to be treated. When something like this happens you really take stock in what you have and what is important. I could have lost my whole world.

The house I lived in was a house in progress anyway. As soon as something would be fixed, something else broke. The day I put it up for sale, my stove broke, a piece of wood on one of the cabinets broke and fell off and the shower head broke, flew off and almost knocked me out in the shower. To say I was done with that cursed house may actually be an understatement.

One of the reasons my kids have cell phones was because their dad used to haunt me. I can't begin to tell you how many times he cut my phone wires. He also cut the water line to the house and sawed off all the outside lights. They have the cheapest plan there is. If you are asking if he ever went to jail, well he did - twice. The cell phones actually come in pretty handy. My older son misses his school bus sometimes and he uses the phone to call me. My younger son is pretty active so it is nice being able to get a hold of him no matter where he is. I have a two year contract again with Sprint. Just about everytime it is time to renew, I get a letter from Verizon telling me what they can offer me so I call Sprint and they beat Verizon. It is very cool playing them off on each other.

As you can see the old house held a lot of bad memories for me. I used every penny I got from the old house and put it down on the new house. (Plus I put in $2,000 of my savings for a deposit when I made the offer.) It was almost 20%, so I do have to pay 3 years of PMI.

Anyway, I knew it was going to be tough when I moved. I had every penny worked out because I am very money aware. I even had the increase in my health insurance worked out. I figured they would increase it about $25. I even took into consideration that my daughter would pay her own car payment. (I know this is stupid stupid stupid.) They increased it $100. I'm going to take the kids off my health insurance. The health department charges $45 for a doctor appointment so if they get sick, I'll take them there. If something major happens I'll apply with the state. My co-payment to be on Medi-Caid is about $2,000 per month. They use gross income. My checks are paid biweekly so they use gross (minus any health insurance paid) x 2.167. Then they subtract $90 and than $1100 (for a family of 4). The left over is my share of cost. Household expenses are not taken into consideration, or the fact that I pay more in taxes than most teenagers earn in year. (Which is kind of sad because right now I claim 13.) Plus I have to pay manditory union dues and we have to have ourselves on insurance, so we have to pay that (otherwise I'd take myself off too). I would say I have close to $175 in mandatory deductions taken from each check. Not including the dental and vision care that I'm keeping for the kids and myself.

It is hard, but I guess I was never promised a rose garden.

On the brighter side, I am considering applying for a job that pays up to $11,000 more a year - tops. It would take two years to top out and it is further away from home and I would have to do some traveling. The down side is my kids are still little. I don't like the idea of going to Sacramento and leaving my teenagers home with themselves. I guess it is a catch 22. Maybe I'll apply and leave the choice to the higher power.

I found this saying on a money quote web page. I think it is nice.

"Only after the last tree has been cut down, Only after the last river has been poisoned, Only after the last fish has been caught, Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten."

Anonymous quotes

Coffee addict

October 21st, 2005 at 09:59 pm

Okay, I'll admit it. I'm a coffee addict. I just love coffee. I like it strong, not thick. Ahh.... the aromatic smell. The warmth it brings as I lift the cup up to my mouth, the taste. Yummy. I drink one to two cups per day. This morning I scrounged change so I could stop at starbucks. I'm not the fancy coffee drinker. Nope not me. I like it brewed and white (lots of half and half).

Well this brings me to the coinstar machine. Now instead of losing that 8 cents per dollar you can buy a starbucks card! Someone help me. My day was spent thinking about my change jar. Believe it or not I'm trying to figure out a way that trading in my change for a starbucks card would be cost effective. I actually looked at my old starbucks card and wondered if I could recharge it at the coinstar machine. I think I'm losing my mind. I even avoided Stater Brothers today to avoid looking at the coinstar machine. I have to go tomorrow because it is my son's birthday party. I got to buy cake mix, hamburgers, etc. (I'm thinking about trading in my change). I've been hoarding it for a year. I never really had a plan for the change, but it never occurred to me until today to buy a starbucks card with it.

On the sloppier side: I paid my Sprint bill, it was three months old and they turned off the cells. Now I told them my new address in August on one of the bills. I was just beginning to wonder where the heck the bills have been when BAM (Batman and Robin style Smile they just turned them off (yep teenagers have them I have a prepaid wireless that I adore). So bill was $252. I hope they don't report me to a credit agency for being late. I honestly forgot about it. So much for not borrowing money from my savings this month. That just blew it big time. This month has been sucky. I even have to pay 1.80 because my electric bill was late.

I have not heard from Kaiser yet for my kids. I have decided to take them off my health insurance. It is scarey. If something happens I will apply for medi-cal for them. I just can't afford it anymore. The $100 more a month is something that I can't afford.

I called my daughter and left her a message that said "Make the car payment or bring back the car." At least this way if I have the car, I won't be paying $240 per month for her car insurance. I was stupid stupid stupid to finance this car for her. She called and left a message that she will bring the payment by ASAP when it is convenient for her. My message to her said I want one or the other by 10/31. I'll park the car and try to sell it. I know it will be at a loss, but it is better than paying 4 years for a car that I don't want or need.

People are insane when it comes to getting what they want!

October 20th, 2005 at 07:49 pm

One of the girls at work just bought a new house for $350,000. I thought at first: WOW!. Now I'm hearing the story. The house is brand new because she didn't want someone's garbage. She got $10,000 for buying (pretty good incentive I say) and she used it towards closing costs (excellent move). Now I hear she got an interest only loan (huh?). Apparently she only put the $10,000 towards closing costs (nothing else). She came to talk to me today because her husband goes off work next week and he doesn't start back again until January. In other words, unemployment starts and income stops. She says she has about $10,000 in savings (hmmmm....sounds like a familiar figure). Well anyway, in 5 years she starts paying principal on a loan that will now be for a 25 year term. I didn't do the figures, but I would guess it would be quite a bit of a mortgage. She said her plans are to refinance in 5 years back to a 30 year loan. She hopes her home value will increase enough that she'll be able to do this. (At this point my mind is reeling. I know that that is everyone's hope that their home values will increase substantially - but - HELLO - I lived through the 80's and the recession. Realistically you hope that your home increases, but you pray that it doesn't go down in value and that it maintains value.)

I am horrified. This girl and her husband got a 30 year mortgage that they obviously can't afford because they only would give them an interest only loan. In 5 years they have to refinace in order to make the payment. Well what if the house doesn't increase in value, one of them gets hurt or sick and/or they have money problems. What could happen is they would have to sell their house. Worse case would be they would have to sell it for a loss.

Well I kind of looked into interest only loans. Did you know that interest only loans were very popular before the Great Depression? When the banks began to go belly up, they called in those loans (can't do that now of course), but hundreds of people lost their homes. It took us 40 years to climb out of that big mistake. Now I understand that they are also offering 40 year loans.

I don't know. I guess I have never wanted something so bad that I thought losing everything I had was worth the risk. Do you know what I mean?

You know you are old when......

October 18th, 2005 at 09:12 pm

Today my sixteen year old son and I were on the couch watching old black and white scarey movies when I mentioned that the one wild eyed actor looked just like Manson did after he was arrested. My son looked me right in the eye and said, "Marilyn? I didn't know he was arrested."

I called my older daughter because the 13th has come and passed and she did not pay her car payment. She acted like she was the wounded party. Imagine that! I told her she needs to come and talk to me because her insurance went up too. I am not a happy camper. The deal was if she didn't make the car payments I would take the car. Of course, I won't be able to afford the payments and still eat...

My youngest son asked me the other day if I would help him buy a car and I told him "No". When he asked why, I told him to go and ask his sister why. I'd like to be the wounded party for once.

All the bills are paid for the month. Now I just have to manage the house payment. My goal is not to take any more out of my savings and make the house payment this month.

available cash

$1600 - Money market account
$300 - ING account
$1000 ING CDs
$450- Christmas Club
$100 - Checking
$7000- in deferred compensation through work - Virtually untouchable

$1600 - money market
$350 - ING
$1000 - ING CDs
$81 - Holiday
$350 - ING
$600 - Checking

Next month I have to add to savings desperately for the holidays.

My parents are giving the five kids (me included) their land near Branson Mo. It is about an acre in a mobile home park. The sibs wanted to hold onto it. I talked them into selling it so that we could help the parents with their living expenses. Mom is 81 and Dad is 72. Both of them have/had relatives live well into their 90's. Also, even though dad is a veteran, I talked the sibs into prepaid burial plans. I told them minimum of $1500 per person. I figure, we will have some expenses no matter what. My parents' income is only $1500 per month. I told the kids that if we use the proceeds wisely the parents will be able to live just that little bit better every month. They enjoy doing things for the grandkids and my mom and dad have siblings all over the US. It might be nice if they could go and see them. After all, the way I figure it, they struggled to buy that property and they don't have anything else, they should use the proceeds to live a little.

On 9/17/05, my younger son sliced his hand open with a razor knife. Long story, blade broke, knife slipped, kid ended up in emergency. My copay is $250. I haven't got the bill yet, but I'm worried. I'll need to call them I guess. I used to work at a hospital and I know they take a while to get the bill out, however, I'd still like to set up some payment arrangements.

My youngest daughter goes off track next week and and goes back to school the week after Thanksgiving. I will save approximately $60 while she is off track because she won't get school lunch money. Which is good because I could really use the money for the holidays.

My sons want/need a box spring. Right now they are sleeping on a mattress on the floor. It occurred to me that I could finance it. I need a new box spring and mattress too. Mine were used 5 years ago. I'm just so afraid to finance anything. Especially now that I am hurting for living expenses. Credit just seems so much more worthy when you are hurting for money. Wouldn't you know it I got one of those stupid credit card offers in the mail. Best rate yet too - 14% interest.


October 13th, 2005 at 09:51 pm

Okay you know you are done with a vacation when:

1) Your phone rings and you think it might be your work calling for you when you have 3 teenagers.

2) You have already picked out your clothes for next week.

3) You were hoping that when the mail came so would the worm pills for your cat so you would have something to do.

4) You are looking forward to the next episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer".

Well tomorrow will be better. I'll pay my bills and do some laundry.

Oprah today

October 12th, 2005 at 04:05 pm

The episode was titled "Inside the lives of America's Poor".

Well I watched some of it and I was not impressed. They talked to some homeless families and some of the poor in the Apalacian Mountains. I don't think that a true picture of the poor is an interview with a poor person. I don't even think that doing a reality show on living poor for a year could even begin to paint a picture of what it is truly like to be poor. Some one once said to me: "You know you are poor when you go to work and steel toilet paper". And for someone to insinuate that being poor is a side effect of mental illness....OMG....this just makes me sick. I'm sure there are some cases out there, however, I believe since I am one of those working poor that maybe it is because you're poor that there are so people out there who are depressed, divorced, etc. and not the other way around.

Four out of 10 children live below poverty. Or as Oprah said "The entire population of Canada". Well was she trying to shock me? I already knew that. Is it true that only the poor truly see each other? That the poor are invisable to the rich? How can it be that children go to bed hungry every day in the GREATEST COUNTRY OF THE WORLD? At the same time I see workers throw oranges away every day because they are less than perfect. Markets throw outdated food in their trashcans than put fences around them to keep out the people who are homeless and hungry. Why isn't this same food frozen and shipped to people? Is it because there aren't any funds? I doubt it. I believe there are funds. Every day airplanes and trains return 1/2 empty from destinations. I know truckers who have also returned with empty trucks. They don't like to, but I know of it happening. Do I have all the answers? No. I'm sure there is someone being paid a 6 figure salary somewhere who is trying to come up with some.

How about we take one place, a city in Kentucky maybe, and feed them. Enough that they have enough for once. Get these people strong and healthy again. Take the ones who want to work and put them to work fixing their own town? Lets get some plumbing, running water and the kids to school every day. Then we can train the best of the best to go to the next town to help the next set of people. This letting people cope on their own is just a bunch of crap. In the end it is always the most helpless who do suffer the most. It is the children, the disabled, the elderly, the poor and the sick.

I'm ranting I guess. I know Oprah was trying to open the public's eyes to the poor. I just don't see how she is helping them. I think they were just news.

I'm losing it this time for sure.

October 10th, 2005 at 06:16 am

I went to my dad and mom's house yesterday for her anniversary party and it had been moved to next week and no one told me. My family cracks me up. Total waste of gas. About an hour round trip. Oh well. I got to visit for a while and my oldest was over there doing laundry (sometimes it does pay to live away from a big population).

I had the weirdest dream. I dreamed that I was at a man's house and he was cleaning it. He was doing laundry and talking to me. (It was a very little house.) He also had two dishes that he was stacking and they had roses on them. I remember thinking that they must belong to his girlfriend. I was trying to analyse it this morning and I couldn't. At least he wasn't trying to shove me into the washing machine.

I'm off all week this week. Kids go to school. I have to plan the dinner menu and clean the house. I didn't do anything all weekend.

My daughter told me she is going to give me $100 for the car payment. Thank goodness. She gets paid this week. No more draining all my savings!

Saturday I took my kids to buy some clothes. My 12 year old dd didn't have any pants that fit her and my 14 year old ds got a few shirts and a cap. My dd wanted to shop at the Limited Too. When I got in the store and looked at the first price tag, I told her "No Way". We went next door and bought her 3 outfits for half price. The store was called the RAVE. My youngest ds wanted to know when I am going to buy myself some clothes and I told him I hadn't thought about it in a while. I do need some clothes. We had a fire in March at my old house and my dd and I lost almost all of our clothes. The things that I immediately bought from the insurance money just isn't enough to last us. I don't have any winter clothes. Looks like I will need to go to the Salvation Army. My son asked me why I always buy used clothes for myself. I told him that dress clothes are way too expensive to buy them new. I can get the same thing at the Salvaton Army. Some of the stuff I buy still has price tags on it.
Oldest ds didn't want anything. He is over 6 ft tall. His dad was 6 ft. I think he may have actually stopped growing now. So he said all of his stuff is still fine. Bless their hearts. I have good kids.

I took $400 out of my savings for groceries, clothes and allowances/school lunches. Looks like I have a little extra left in the wallet. I'm not going anywhere for a while so under my mattress it goes. $61.00.

My my youngest ds went shopping with me. So I bought a whole lot of nothing for $102. (I thought crap!) It was an eye opener for him. He said "I can't believe it cost so much." I filled up my tank for $38. Paid $3.05 a gallon. I could have got it cheaper where I live, but I wasn't there when I had to fill up. I never go out of my way to buy gas. Its bad enough that I have to make a small detour to buy gas, I'm definately not going to drive 5 or 6 miles for it. I drove 291 miles on 12.5 gallons. I am still getting 23 miles per tank. Not to shabby for my 2003 Saturn Vue. These are all city miles. I am rarely on a highway. I am a firm believer in maintenace. I asked at the Saturn dealer if I should be waiting until 5,000 miles to get my oil changed and the mechanic there said wait until the the maintenance light comes on. He said it is between 7,000 and 10,000 miles. I'm saying "Really?" He said the oil they make now is so good that the car would be fine. I paid cash for this car at 90,000 miles and I have never had a problem with it. I was told that it would probably go to 300,000 miles as long as I changed to oil and had it maintained. I only live 11 miles from work now. It has 106,000 miles on it and I just had its 100,000 mile check up.

Cutting down expenses

October 9th, 2005 at 06:38 am

I have begun ways to cut down my expenses.

When I moved I got a letter from the electric company asking me if I wanted to apply for their low income program. Well I thought "What the heck" I filled out the form and sent it back. I qualify for one of their programs! I save 20% on anything used over 130% of baseline. I always go over. My bill came and I saved $20. Pretty good, huh?

I looked into the other utilities and there aren't any other savings programs.

My health insurance for me and the kids goes up effective 12/1/05 to $750 month (wince, cringe, gag). My employer pays $565. That means that I am will be paying close to $200 per month in insurance just for health. I also have dental which is another $80 and eye insurance which is $16 per month that are not included in the $750. I dont' qualify for state programs because I would have a huge share of cost if I was eligible, but I'm not because I'm over property. I applied for private insurance through Kaiser for my 3 youngest kids. I'm hoping they approve me. This will give me another $200 monthly. I told my oldest daughter (who is at school) that she needs to get her own insurance. She just got a new job that pays $10 an hour and they offer health insurance for $34 per month. I told her to apply for it. What I don't spend of that $565, I get back in my check. To insure one person is $320 per month. So I'll get $230 back and won't have to spend that other $200. I'm thinking about a $400 monthly savings.

I have called and complained about my new cable so many times, that they are giving me 3 more months of their new enrollee plan and Showtime for 13 months free. Apparently I needed a new box. For the life of me, I can't figure out why the other three guys that came out to my house couldn't figure that out.

Someone I work with lives right down the street from me. I asked her if she wanted to car pool. She goes and works out 3 times a week, but she said she could on Thursdays. I'm off this week (vacation) so we decided that she will drive this month. Next month I'll drive. That is a week worth of not driving every other month! That averages out to about $15 monthly. Heck...that is my milk money for the month.

I don't have any landscaping at my new house. My kids want grass. I want to Xeroscape. I live in the desert and I have found two pieces of wild cactus that I'll plant. I planted some bamboo that was on clearance at walmart and I also got a pride of barbados and a giant bird of paradise. The bamboo went next to my fence so my water loving neighbors could water it when they water their lawn, the pride of barbados went under my eaves so the morning condensation falls on it and my bird has an old gallon water bottle buried next to it to water it (or I should say did, it disappeared and I'm looking for another). My water bill is $16 month. My water bill at my old house was $167 easy.

I also planted some hens and chicks on my slope in front. They'll need to be watered until they take, then they'll spread. I just love succulents.

I save cans and my change. I really need to plan on not spending any money in October or November on myself.

Surviving in Southern California

October 9th, 2005 at 06:07 am

I just read that the median income where I live is $71,000 and a single mom with 2 kids needs $63,000. You can't buy a house unless your income is around $84,000. It makes me look pretty good, considering my gross income last year was $45,000, I have 3 kids and this year I just bought a new manufactured home on 2 lots. Granted - I did sell my old house and I put $50,000 down. $45,000 of which went to the principal. $7,000 went into escrow. I still ended up having to pay PMI for 2 years. I owe $245,000 on my home. I do love it, but the mortgage payment is $2,011. Which is kind of a killer because I only bring home $2,700, or if I work overtime $3,000.

Current Savings

$1600 - Money market account
$300 - ING account
$1000 ING CDs
$450- Christmas Club
$100 - Checking
$7000- in deferred compensation through work - Virtually untouchable.

Other items
I have whole life insurance policies for my children and myself. I don't know what the face value is. I think together they may be in the $500 range. I have a $250,000 term policy on myself that is good until I retire.

Current Debts

I owe $10,000 on a car. (daughter's) I have made the last 2 1/2 months payments. She just got a much better job and she WILL be making all the payments and 1/2 of her insurance.

I owe $800 on a small credit card.